Monday, 24 June 2013 20:43

Forest agreement public lecture

tas forestTHE potential  for maximising returns from forestry after acceptance of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement will be examined in a public lecture to be given by a visiting German expert at the Scottsdale LINC on Monday, July 1.

Professor Andreas Rothe teaches at the University of Applied Sciences, at Weihenstephan, Germany, and has spent his sabbatical leave based at Forestry Tasmania comparing Tasmania's use of forest residues and low quality timber with those of Europe and his home state of Bavaria in particular.

Professor Rothe said that  believed more effective use of pulpwood and forest residues could deliver a $200 million boost to earnings and hundreds of new jobs, together with sustainable environmental benefits.

As much as 3.3 million tonnes of biomass could be sourced for bioenergy from sustainable forestry in Tasmania, he estimated.

These estimates cover the whole of Tasmania, with nearly 70 per cent of the resource coming from private land and Professor Rothe said his research showed that even after the agreement there was plenty of wood for a sustainable industry.

``Tasmania still has among the highest per capita production forest resources worldwide,'' he said.

``At the moment, wood contributes 6.5 per cent of Tasmania's total energy supply _ this compares to the leading countries in Europe with large forest resources like Sweden and Finland which already generate about 30 per cent of total energy from biomass.''

Tasmania had the potential to catch up and pass that benchmark of 30 per cent of energy demand being met by biomass, Professor Rothe said.

``The impact on jobs would be substantial, with most of them directly generated in local areas, according to German and Swiss studies,'' he said.

``Bavaria has 700 biomass plants _ Tasmania has just a handful, with most pulpwood being exported as low-value woodchips and a lot of residues going up in smoke in regeneration burns.''

Bass District forest manager Peter Bird said a recent presentation by Professor Rothe had attracted keen public interest and with proposals in the north-east for an enterprise based on low-grade timber and residues, he extended the invitation to repeat the lecture in Scottsdale.

``The community is coming to grips with the changing nature of forestry and Professor Rothe's research indicates a very feasible option in the new environment,'' Mr Bird said.

Additional Info

The lecture, at King Street's LINK,  will start 5pm and run for about an hour.

People interested in attending should register by telephoning +61 6350 6466

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